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Research Methods In Computer Science

Figure 1 : A Research Process

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

Research Methods In Computer Science

Previously .
In the previous chapter , the way to find a research area was discussed in some details. The diagram below describes those views again to refresh the understanding before proceed to the next step of formulating the research problem.

Figure 2 : Identifying a Research Area

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

Research Methods In Computer Science

Formulating Research Problem

Figure 3: Steps In Formulating Research Problem

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

Research Methods In Computer Science

Statement of Research Problem

The statement explains the problem in a clear, precise and concise manner. It describes the platform for the research to be developed. A problem denotes the need for that particular issue/area to be highlighted or resolved for the better. The statements consists of brief and short description of area in focus and possible answers pertaining to the problems raised.

Figure 4 : The points of reference to construct a statement of research problem

How to develop a statement of research problem 1. [where] State the background of the problem 2. [what] Describe the main problem 3. [why] Why is it so important to solve the problem 4. [how] Describe possible solution 5. [who] Who says it is important

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

Research Methods In Computer Science

Research Objectives
Research objectives (RO) state the aims of the research project which is what to be achieved by the study They describe in general terms the direction of the research and actions to be taken to realize the stated objectives. ROs are written in clear and precise sentences where each sentence contains the action to pursue, the main purpose, the subject and the environment. The criteria for good ROs are as follows :

Figure 5 : Criteria For Good Research Objectives

Examples : 1. To measure the impact f variable parameter values on GA performance. 2. To evaluate the performance of two algorithms on image identification as web authentication procedure 3. To determine the factors that influence learning process in NN classifier

Some other examples that have more specific research objectives are : 1. To compare the performance of fulltime and part-time students of CS777 program. 2. To determine the factors that that can cause the rise of public transports fares in Malaysia. 3. To find the CSF of five GLCs in Malaysia. 4. To measure the effectiveness of fuzzy approach in classification problem.

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

Research Methods In Computer Science

5. To compare the performance of state-based specifications (Z and VDM) in software testing. 6. To find the relationship between components in the ITSM model. 7. To identify the factors that define software risks in an organization. 8. To measure the vulnerability of internet security in an organization.

Avoid using the following verbs : to appreciate, to study, to understand, to research, and to explore because they are hard to measure.

Determine Variables
What is a research variable? Variable is a representation of a factor that is used to describe a process or procedure which will manipulate that factor or any other factors of the same group or characteristic. A research variable then, is the representation of a factor that can be manipulated or measured through a research process. Once research objectives have been identified then research variables must be determined to design an experiment. The experiment will answer some specific research questions that have been constructed to test/prove relationships between variables. The number of variables being investigated will determine the complexity of the research. Most research will have at least two variables; so that the research can find any relationship between the two. However in reality, a research must be able to answer some questions with more than two variables. There are methods available for a researcher to use for any number of variables; the level of complexity is the challenge that a researcher has to endured and enjoyed.

Types of variable
One of the main objectives in research is to establish a cause-and effect of the research variables. The design of the experiments should look into how one variable will affect the other and describe the impact of each variable to the research as a whole. This would require for the variables to be categorised according to their characteristics and purpose. There are many types of variables but the most important ones are referred to as independent and dependent variables. Independent variable These are variables that have been chosen to represent the causes for some other variables to change. Dependent variable These are variables that have been chosen to represent the effects caused by the independent variables. These effects are the important findings that will be analysed later on to answer the research questions. Other variables The other variables are sometime referred to as extraneous variables which represent any influence other than that from the independent variables. The impact of this variable is also important because

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

Research Methods In Computer Science

sometime it will significantly alter the effect of the dependent variables. Due to its side effects, extraneous variables must be properly controlled and monitored.

Extraneous variables

Independent variables

dependent variables

cause s
Figure 6 : The causes-and-effects of research variables

effect s

Measurements

Level of measurement

Interval scale t-test/F-test Ratio scale Nominal scale All tests Chi Sq test Ordinal scale

Non-parametric test

Figure 7 : The Level of Measurements

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

Research Methods In Computer Science

Nominal Scale
The word nominal means to name. This is used in statistics to be utilized in the dataset so as they can properly represent the data. Numbers are assigned to variables only to classify or categorize them; such as : 1= male, 2=female. In this manner the data set can be easily manipulated and aid in data analysis. The only arithmetic that is relevant for such group of data is counting. The statistical usage is very limited and normally good for keeping track of people, objects & events. The common statistical test that can be performed for this kind of data set is a chi-square test.

Ordinary Scale Numbers or values are assigned to the objects or events to establish rank or order; such as, 1 st , 2nd, 3rd or 4th positions. Intervals of the scale are not equal, i.e., adjacent ranks need not be equal in their differences. For data to be in this manner, there are no more precise comparisons possible. The median is an appropriate measure of central tendency. A percentile or quartile is used for measuring dispersion. Rank order correlations are possible. The statistical tests that are possible for this data are non-parametric tests. This is commonly used in qualitative research.

Ordinal level question


In

which category was your income last year? 1. above RM100K 2. RM50K RM100K

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

Research Methods In Computer Science

Interval Scale

The numbers or values assigned to the objects or events which can be categorized, ordered and assumed to have equal distance between scale values. The usual representation would be the test score or degrees of temperature : such as, a farenheit temperature scale (72) degrees or test score (0 100). There is no absolute zero or unique origin; only an arbitrary zero can be had and hence no capacity to measure the complete absence of a trait or characteristic This type of data is more powerful than ordinal scale due to the concept of equality of interval. The sample mean is an appropriate measure of central tendency. Standard deviation(SD) is widely used for dispersion. The common relevant statistical tests for this data are t-test & F-test for significance.

Ratio Scale The numbers in this data set represent the objects or events which can be categorized, ordered and assumed to have equal distance between scale values and have a real zero point. The values can be used for all statistical tests that conform with the requirements for the particular test. The highest level of measurement; All mathematical operations and statistical techniques can be applied ;all manipulations that are possible with real numbers can be carried out.

Ratio level question :


What

was your income last year ? .

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

Research Methods In Computer Science

Relationship Between Variables


When the variables are defined , the relationships between them need to be established. The relationships are described in research questions or hypothesis; which are then proved or tested with the experiments.

Research Questions
By stating research questions, a researcher will have a focussed and organised direction in the design and planning of the experiments. Sample research questions are as follows : 1. Are variable mutation rates, crossover rates and population size affect GA performance? 2. Is there any significant difference on GA performance when the population size is varied? 3. Is the highest average fitness a better indicator than individual fitness for overall GA performance?

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

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Research Methods In Computer Science

Hypotheses

The statements that tell relationships between the variables in the research. There are two types of hypotheses:

There is NO significant difference between conditions

There is a significant difference between conditions

Figure 8 : Making hypothesis

If the result is significant then reject null hypothesis(H 0), otherwise accept alternative hypothesis(H1) If the result is NOT significant then accept null hypothesis(H 0), otherwise reject alternative hypothesis(H1)

Examples :

1. There is no significant difference in the performance of GA when the parameters are varied. 2. There is no significant effect of variable population size on GA performance. 3. There is no significant relationship between full-time/part-time status on students performance

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar 2011

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